Creating a Framework for Innovation

Posted 2/23/2016 3:05 PM by Brandon Carter

This blog was submitted by Joe Barela.

The Customer Centered Design (CCD) Project was launched July 29, 2015. CCD encouraged teams from across the nation to use a ‘design thinking’ approach to prototype innovative solutions to one of three challenges improving customer service at One-Stop Centers.

When we first learned about what we call “customer-centered design” (CCD), it opened up a new way of thinking for us about how we served a specific customer segment. WIOA emphasizes serving out of school youth, traditionally a hard group to reach. We know that they don’t always respond to the same messages our other customers do, and they don’t necessarily see the value in our services.  We chose the CCD challenge of attracting more young people to our workforce services in Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. The CCD training and coaching we received helped us understand that the best redesign ideas would come from our young adults directly; it was our job to ask them what they thought – and prepare to really listen.

It takes courage to strip your program down to the framework and start over. We brought together community partners and key stakeholders to understand how we were perceived in the community.  We designed surveys and met with groups of young adults to learn about what was important to them. We learned a lot about their challenges and barriers, and committed to meeting them where they were.

Author Bryant McGill said it best: “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” What came out of our ideation phase was a key insight: young people needed help to imagine themselves as part of our regional workforce and economy. Eventually, we were able to create a brand that put our young customers at the center of what we do. Our new brand, Future U: your path, your potential was born.

We also learned by listening to young adults that relationships were what connected them to community organizations.  They came for the services, but stayed for the people. That led us to meetings with our center staff to examine how they felt about and interacted with our young adult customers, and to reconsider how our services were delivered.

The CCD training helped us do some “Journey Mapping” that allowed us to look at each touch point our young customers would have with our programs and staff. We allowed our customers to give us feedback at every stage of the design process, which helped us stay on track and keep their needs at the fore as we considered ideas. We’re currently working on a prototype of a paid internship and mentoring program that we’ll test and validate with young adults.

We’ve received positive feedback on our new outreach campaign, which is appearing on light rail lines, social networks and news outlets. We’ve selected our advertising venues in the spirit of meeting our customers where they are and where they spend time looking for information and advice.

Customer-centered design helped us create a framework for innovation that brought together a broad coalition of stakeholders, partners, and most importantly, our customers.  We’ll keep IDEO’s concept alive as we consider future changes as well. “Being a human-centered designer is about believing that as long as you stay grounded in what you’ve learned from people, your team can arrive at new solutions that the world needs.”

For more information on the CCD Project, please visit the ION:

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Views: 178
Posted: 2/23/2016 10:05 AM
Posted By: Brandon Carter
Posted In: Innovation and Opportunity Network
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